The snow devil is an rare sight,
© Michael Peterson.
The snow devil is an rare sight.
A Shetland farmer has captured a rare "snow devil' on video whilst out feeding his sheep.

Michael Peterson from Sandness on the west of Shetland's mainland spotted the weather phenomenon on Tuesday afternoon.

Despite usually appearing in mountainous areas, Mr Peterson sighted it while out in his van with his wife Frances.

Comment: Usually?! Or 'very rare'? Which is it?!

According to the World Meteorological Organisation a snow devil occurs when snow is raised from the group in a whirling column.

Comment: Raised from the what?? From the dead?!

It describes the phenomenon as "very rare", and explains it is otherwise known as a "snownado".

Mr Peterson shared video on Facebook groups around Shetland and was invited on BBC Radio Shetland to describe the event.

He told the programme: "It was a nice enough day at that point so me and my wife went outside to feed the sheep.

"What looked like a cloud of snow was coming up next to us and it came up past where we were and it just started forming into this whirlwind tornado type thing. Thankfully Frances started videoing it.

"It formed right where I was going to feed the next lot of sheep.

"We have never seen that before but that is why it is spectacular."

The unexpected sighting comes after Shetland has been hit by extremely heavy snow during the week, forcing several schools to be closed.

Mr Peterson told BBC Radio Shetland that after he shared the video he was inundated with people telling him how rare his sighting was.

He said: "I am not sure if it is technically a tornado, I think a few people have seen similar things in Shetland over the past few days.

"But I was just in the right place and right time.

"I will probably never see that again."